Update - Authorization for Special Issuance of a Medical Certificate

Went in for my flight physical on June 27th and passed. All my data was current with the FAA and I was issued a temporary Third Class Medical Certificate valid until the FAA sent a letter with the requirements to maintain the Special Issuance.

The letter arrived yesterday and I have been granted a 6 year Authorization for Special Issuance of Medical Certification, expires 2017. They have also changed my requirement to submit data to every 24 months to coincide with the flight physical. This is great news, my Cardiologist didn't want to see me for another 2 years. Life is good.

It has been worth the journey. Having a Third Class means no limitations.

Live long and prosper!


--------------------------------- original post follows -------------------

After recovering from surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm in 2007, I applied for a Authorization for Special Issuance of a Medical Certificate in June 2009. After the physical, it took about 6 months to get the data required to the FAA, hospital/surgery reports, CT scans, Echo's, etc. A Special Issuance is good for one year, the physical is good for 2 years. The clock started ticking when I got the physical, so I had 6 months before the Medical expired in June 2010. At that point I was going to let it lapse and fly as a Sport Pilot. My pursuit of a Medical was a personal choice, I was legal to fly as a Sport Pilot since my prior Medical had lapsed before my surgery.

Unfortunately, my Cardiologist sent in a letter in September of 2010 and that opened up a Medical review that required new data, specifically an Echo, but the last Echo was out of date. Data has to be less than 90 days old. I traded letters with the FAA and was finally denied, meaning I wasn't able to fly as a Sport Pilot. Not a big deal, we were moving, the plane was 600 miles away. I'd sort it out in the Spring after my next visit to the Cardiologist.

New Echo on April 1, 2010 and that was sent to the FAA the following week. It took until May 17th to get into the system, this is normal unless you can Fax the data. Called today, June 23rd, and it had finally been reviewed and I've been approved to see an AME for my physical, but I need to wait for the letter to arrive. If all goes well, I could be legal next week, but will wait until after July 1 to get my physical. This will get me to July 31, 2012 before expiration.

Then I asked if it would ever be possible to return to normal, not needing Special Issuance. Then I got some shocking news, I'm on Synthroid and that requires a Special Issuance Authorization. So, if you're on Synthroid and have a valid Third Class Medical, but haven't told the FAA, that is reason for denial.

I'll decided next year if I'm going to continue with a Special Issuance or let my Medical lapse and fly as a Sport Pilot. This was the last piece of the puzzle. I can now fly my XL to Oregon.

Life is good!



Views: 1278


You need to be a member of Zenith Aircraft Builders and Flyers to add comments!

Join Zenith Aircraft Builders and Flyers

Comment by Tim Garrett on June 30, 2011 at 6:20pm
Yeah!!!! Congratulations! I know that feels good. Now go FLY!
Comment by Jake Reyna on June 28, 2011 at 5:57pm
The journey is complete. Went to the AME today and walked out with a Third Class Medical. That was so easy, I might do it again next year.
Comment by Jake Reyna on June 27, 2011 at 8:20am

Tim, a great man once said "A man's got to know his limitations" :-)

Now that I have the Special Issuance figured out, I'll make the decision to continue after my annual visits with the Cardiologist. I chose to keep my bicuspid aortic valve, the source of the aneurysm, as the path that would allow a normal life for the longest period of time, but it will need to be replaced in 15 years. The upside to my choice is that the repair will be via the groin in the future, no need to get cracked open.

Back to limitations. I didn't like the idea of giving up flying 172's, etc. My XL doesn't currently have any "glass" instruments, but the rental fleet at the airport is loaded with "glass". The money saved on a standard panel allows me to rent airplanes with glass panels and pursue an Instrument rating.

For some pilots, flying as a Sport Pilot is the best path. I'm hoping to go another 15+ years before that becomes my reality.

Comment by Tim Garrett on June 26, 2011 at 2:31pm

Thanks for the compliment but don't let my story unduly influence your choice. You have to do what is right for you.

Agree. It is worth the hassle.
Comment by Jake Reyna on June 25, 2011 at 7:26pm

Tim, I didn't realize you had a Special Issuance, that is amazing! That settles it, I'm keeping my Third Class until they pry it from my cold dead hands ;-)

For those of you that think the FAA is unreasonable, they do have their moments, here is the first paragraph of my Authorization.

"Our review of your medical records regarding your history of bicuspid valve, aortic regurgitation, hypertension and hyperthyroidism has established that you may be granted Authorization for Special Issuance of a { first, second, or third } -class medical certificate under Title 14 of the CFR's, Section 67.401."

This is my second Special Issuance and they added first and second class, not that I'll be going that route. Is it worth the hassle? I think so.

Live long and prosper!

Comment by Tim Garrett on June 24, 2011 at 8:58pm

I'll add my 2 cents worth.

I have been flying with a special issuance 3rd class for 15 years or so. I think everyone knows I have multiple sclerosis - an incurable degenerative brain disease. The first special issuance took about a year. The updates take less than a month now. Oklahoma City has definitely gotten faster in the last few years. As for Light Sport vs. Experimental Amateur Built (EAB), I chose to build and license my 601XL EAB vs. LS to give me extra incentive to take care of myself and keep my 3rd class. Jake’s story also shows the benefit of the exams even though we all hate them. 

I’ve asked the FAA several times for a two year special issuance with support from my doctors but they ignore it. I am consigned to this routine till I die or something else pops up.

Andre also makes a good point and I think we have all heard the stories of people flying with either no medical, no license or both. I have never been asked to present either in 28 years of flying. I’d be curious of what happens when one of these rouge pilots has an accident? 

Good luck, Jake. We all hope you get back in the air. I tell my neurologist (who supports my flying) that my flying is my “other daily therapy”.

Comment by Jake Reyna on June 24, 2011 at 7:29pm

Mike, if I didn't have a Third Class back in 2007, I would have ignored the EKG that showed a heart attack in the past since I was showing no symptoms. When I realized a heart attack is reason for denial, I had another EKG done, same results, and was referred to a Cardiologist for a treadmill stress test, required by the FAA. Stress test showed no heart attack, and the Echo showed no heart attack. The EKG's were wrong, but the Echo revealed the aneurysm and I would have died in 2008.

So, the Third Class Medical saved my life and the only way to fly LSA after being denied is to get another Third Class Medical. At that point I can let it lapse in another year or keep renewing so I can fly some of the rentals at the Bend airport. They have a nice fleet, Diamond, DA20, Cirrus SR20 and the old reliable 172.

Now that I know the routine, I can avoid denial. My annual Cardiologist visit includes an Echo. If there has been no change I'll send it off to the FAA two months before the Special Issuance is scheduled to lapse and I'll get another year of Third Class without interruption.

The moral to the story is that I'm only 54, there isn't any valid reason to give up my Third Class and limit myself to LSA. Life is short, I want as many options as possible.

Comment by Mike Ethridge on June 24, 2011 at 4:13pm
Hey worring about that 3rd class is going give you heart trouble so relax and have fun with the rest of us LSA folks..
Comment by Andre Levesque on June 23, 2011 at 2:21pm

If you were to check very closely in remote areas ..you will find many people flying without licenses...let alone medical.

Not very smart on their part...dangerous for others......but they still do it.  When have you seen a pilot being checked for his papers??? 



Comment by Bob McDonald on June 23, 2011 at 1:34pm
"Getting old sucks". In Canada we have the Ultralight Permit (LSA in USA) to fall back on with a self declared 5 yr medical. The trick is to have an UL Permit prior to any medical issue suspends your medical. Then if it looks like your going to fail a medical (family doctor not Medical Examiner) you grab your paper work and flee the office. Let your GA medical laspe and you still have 5 yrs to fly and sort the stuff out. Lets face it your driving a car and passing within feet of other motorists every day...truly a dangerous pass time. I'm not endorsing anything illegal (most pilots ground themselves on anything serious) I just believe in common sense. You can legally carry as many licences as you want to own, the higher medical automatically keeps the lower licences in effect. In Canada I can have a Private Permit (2 yr medical), a Recreation Permit (5 yr self declared medical) and an Ultra Light Instructor (5 yr self declared medical). Did I mention my CH750 is the 1st Advanced Ultra Light Aircraft (AULA) CH750 in Canada. I have no medical issues at present...but I have seen friends get grounded for very minor issues. Plan for the future.. get the UL Permit (LSA) licence also. "Call it a bit of preventative medicine". Fly safe. 

New from Zenith:

Zenith Planes For Sale 

Classified listing for buying or selling your Zenith building or flying related stuff...

Custom Instrument Panels
for your Zenith

Custom instrument panels are now available directly from Zenith Aircraft Company exclusively for Zenith builders and owners. Pre-cut panel, power distribution panel, Approach Fast Stack harnesses, Dynon and Garmin avionics, and more.

Custom Upholstery Kits for your Zenith Aircraft:

Zenith Vinyl Upholstery Kits

Zenith Apparel from EAA:

Zenair Floats

Flying On Your Own Wings:
A Complete Guide to Understanding Light Airplane Design, by Chris Heintz

Builder & Pilot Supplies:

How to videos from HomebuiltHELP.com

Developed specifically for Zenith builders (by a builder) these videos on DVD are a great help in building your own kit plane by providing practical hands-on construction information. Visit HomebuiltHelp.com for the latest DVD titles.

Aircraft Insurance:


West Coast USA:

Pro Builder Assistance:


Transition training:

Golden Eagle Aviation

Pianosa Flying Farm

Aircraft Spruce & Specialty for all your building and pilot supplies!

© 2021   Created by Zenith.Aero.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service